OKC Thunder was dominating the Brooklyn Nets for the most of the game, showing why they are the defending Western Conference Champions. At half time, Coach Johnson called out his team, and the Nets showed up to play in the second half. Deron Williams scored 21 of his 33 points in the second half, and Joe Johnson added 8 of his 17 points in the 4th quarter. The Nets were playing short handed up front, and chose to go small several times during the game. The strategy seemed to work as they clawed back into the game from a 13 point half time deficit. Thunder displayed their usual flashy style of basketball led by Durant who finished with 32 points and Westbrook who scored 25. Nets’ defense struggled without their anchors in the paint with Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez out for the game. Nets still managed to out rebound the Thunder 40 – 33, behind strong efforts by Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche. Humphries finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Blatche finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. However, both failed to record a single block for the game. Oklahoma City, which had won its last four games by an average of 25 points, leads the NBA in victory margin, beating teams by 9.6 points per game. But their 16-point lead was sliced to two down the stretch, even as they shot 60.6 percent for the game. The Nets didn’t look sharp early in the game as they came out flat while trying to extend their longest home winning streak since late in 2005-06. However, the team didn’t give up like they would have just a year ago. They played tough, and gave their best effort in the second half. The game was close down the stretch with the Nets trailing by only 2 points with 2:14 left in the game. Then the momentum changing play happened when Durant was credited with a basket on a goaltend call against Humphries that stood up after video review. Despite the loss, the game was one of the best games played at Barclays Center this season. There were several positives that can be taken from last night’s loss, but this year’s Nets are about getting wins not just positives.
The Nets played much better than they had against Miami Heat last Saturday night. They played to win in the second half. Deron’s breakout game of the season ignited the Nets who almost overcame an elite Thunder team that is on a six game winning streak. All 5 Nets starters scored in double digits, while the bench struggled for the most part. The main thing missing from the Nets last night was their defense. The Nets have held their opponents to only 91 points per game, but gave up 117 points to the Thunder. This will obviously improve once Lopez and Evans are back. Despite the loss, and the struggles on the defensive end, last night’s game showed that the Nets can definitely hang with the NBA’s elite teams, something that not a lot of people agreed with just two days ago after their loss against Miami. Home court advantage provided by Barclays Center definitely played a role in the team’s revival in the second half, but it’s the team’s attitude this year that makes them special. They understand what is expected of them, they understand the quality of basketball that they have to play in order to be successful. As Humphries put it after the game, “We’re not the Nets of the past few years. No moral victories – we’re trying to win games. That’s what this year is about”. Look for the Nets to get back on their winning ways this Friday when they take on the Golden State Warriors. They have two tough games coming up against the Milwaukee Bucks next Sunday and against the New York Knicks next Tuesday. Winning those two games will be crucial for the Nets if they want to put themselves at the top of the Eastern Conference Standings again. They are currently 1.5 games behind the Knicks and Heat. Looking to go to a game this weekend? We have two tickets available for the Sunday game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Click here to visit our store today!
Current Atlantic Division Standings
|New York||12||4||.750||–||Won 3|